SONA 2020

IN PHOTOS: Makabayan bloc wears protest art to SONA 2020 rally

Niña Diño
IN PHOTOS: Makabayan bloc wears protest art to SONA 2020 rally

Various protest groups march towards UP Diliman to join the #SONAgkaisa protest hours before President Rodrigo Duterte’s #SONA2020 on July 27, 2020.

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

This year, members of the Makabayan bloc continue their tradition by wearing protest attire to the SONA rally at UP Diliman

Almost every year, members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives have been donning protest wear featuring designs by local artists during the State of the Nation Address (SONA). 

This year, even with the coronavirus pandemic, is no exception.

In 2019, though, the progressive lawmakers failed to strut their protest wear within the halls of the Batasan Pambansa after the Presidential Security Group (PSG) confiscated their clothes ahead of Duterte’s address.

No one stopped them this year as they continued their tradition of forwarding their advocacies through hand-painted protest attires to the main #SONAgKAISA protest at UP Diliman on Monday morning, July 27.

SONA 2020 would be different. For the first time, only a limited number of lawmakers and Cabinet officials were invited to Batasan, where President Duterte would deliver his address before a joint session of Congress.

House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate wore a barong collectively produced by Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo (SAKA) and hand-painted by illustrator and #FreeTheArtists spokesperson Ara Villena.

Featuring the ABS-CBN colors of red, blue, and green, the barong reflects the call of the embattled network to defend press freedom and renew their franchise. 

Zarate’s barong was also decorated with images of eyes, signifying “the terror brought by a surveillance state emboldened by the terror law.” Threats to freedom of assembly and expression were represented by doves shot through with arrows.

To match the hand-painted barong, Zarate sported an abaca mask designed by Karapatan lawyer and artist Sol Taule. The mask featured drawings of figures advocating to junk the terror law and calling for mass testing. 

Bayan Muna Representative Ferdinand Gaite’s barong was an opus by volunteer artist Miguel Alpas. The barong featured a Filipino worker, a farmer, a health front liner, and an ABS-CBN employee depicted in unity against a common enemy who was donning the flags of the United States and China. 

Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares wore a hand-painted advocacy polo. Designed by National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates (NNARA) – Youth, the polo contained a protest message visualizing the “bitter reality of the Filipino people under the Duterte regime.”

Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago

Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago donned a hand-painted sash at the #SONAgKAISA.

Designed by Michael Joselo, the advocacy sash dubbed #SONAgkaiSash represented “safe school reopening, quality education, health, labor, human rights, democracy, and sovereignty.” According to Elago, she wanted to demonstrate the united calls and continued commitment of the youth in forwarding these causes by wearing this sash.

Despite the Quezon City government’s initial advisory that it would not be issuing permits to groups planning protest actions, youth and sectoral organizations nonetheless flocked to UP Diliman for the #SONAgKAISA protest Monday morning, with lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc taking the helm. –